Philips has bundled its PTA 3D upgrade pack – comprising two sets of active shutter 3D glasses and a 3D transmitter – with the 40PFL9705. This is a wise move, because no corners (Freeview HD notwithstanding) should be cut on a £1,800 TV.
The XpanD-made glasses come with three interchangeable nose grips and are certainly lighter than most, though 'best 3D glasses' is a rather empty title at present.
Whether you can excuse the 40PFL9705's lack of BBC One HD, ITV 1 HD and BBC HD et al is another matter entirely, but the standard digital tuner is impressive. An eight-day electronic programme guide is easy to use, but while it fits in stylistically with the 40PFL9705's user interface, it's not nearly as attractive as on other digital TVs. There's also a channel list presented as a grid, again, in keeping with the overall feel of the TV.
Hidden far away in the settings menu is the full suite of picture processing Philips calls Perfect Pixel HD, some of the major features of which should probably be more prominent – perhaps Perfect Natural Motion, 400Hz Clear LCD and the Surround sound option should have dedicated shortcuts either (much) higher-up in the interface, or on the remote.
The latter would partially spoil what is one of the loveliest remote controls ever made. Rounded, metallic and soft to the touch, Philips – unlike most manufacturers – clearly spends a bit of money on its remotes
Digital file support from a USB stick or external hard-disk drive is pretty good. MP3 and WMA music plays, while photos are restricted to JPEG only. Video is well covered, with the 40PFL9705 playing virtually everything we threw at it; DivX (AVI), DivX HD (MKV), MP4 and MPEG all play.
The only files it tripped-up on were WMV HD, MOV and AVCHD (M2TS and MTS) files – the latter from HD camcorders, which could be an issue for some. When attached to a Mac on the same network, the 40PFL9705 managed to stream DivX (AVI) and MP4 video files only.
Net TV may have some new content, but it's so slow to respond and refresh. The open web browser is just as frustrating; without Flash or other plug-ins, the kind of video-rich websites you'll most likely want to view on the 40PFL9705 just won't work.